Watching Titanic as an adult is a humbling, three-hour test of your emotional willpower no matter how many times you’ve seen it since it premiered on December 19, 1997. Revisiting James Cameron’s heart-wrenching masterpiece is similar to that of riding The Tower of Terror at Disneyland after you’ve reached your mid-twenties. You board the ride with full confidence in your ability to keep it together because you are a strong, grown human with $300 in savings. You still lose it, hard, and your face in the souvenir photo rivals Kim Kardashian’s expression when she cries, which is exactly what I saw in the mirror after I finished Titanic for the fifth time in my life.
The movie isn’t entirely depressing, though. Cameron was generous enough to give his audience a 45-minute window at the beginning to finish their popcorn as he introduces his characters. We meet Young Rose and her fiancé Cal, a D-bag by design. We also learn that Old Rose is a boss and that her travel rider states that she is never to be without her bowl of goldfish when she flies.
It is foreshadowed in Jack’s introduction that newsboy caps will be a big hit in Leo’s wardrobe in the future.
Kathy Bates is on the ship, too, as the realest female in First Class who constantly gets side-eyed by wealthy airheads that wouldn’t appreciate a good hat even if its feather swiped caviar off of their upper lip.
The events leading up to the ship’s collision with the glacier are just as delightful as you remember them. Rose and Jack fall in love, Jack draws his famous portrait of Rose and takes his time detailing her belly button, and the people in charge of the boat make terrible decisions in interesting accents. It’s evident why Titanic received the 14 Oscar nominations that it did, but I’ll argue that the Academy could’ve recognized it for a few additional categories.
Winslet, for Most Confident Sprint with a Really Sharp Object:
Winslet and DiCaprio for Quickest Recovery After Having Backseat Sex:
Fabrizio (the young Italian gentleman who received Jack’s extra ticket onboard the Titanic), for Best Execution of Consent by a Supporting Actor
And This Guy, for the Lifetime Achievement Award in Indoor SPF Protection, who also embodies how the film’s dialogue is very on-the-nose when it comes to alluding that The Ship of Dreams is so very fucked:
When I asked my dad for his take on the Titanic, he said that what depressed him the most was that its sinking could have been avoided, and I wondered if that was true given the big picture. In that era, marred by gender and class disparity, could a love like Jack and Rose’s have existed outside of their buoyant utopia that was inevitably weighed down by greed? Unfortunately for us, the old lady threw the answer into the ocean at the end.
Feature photo via Getty Images.